Agricultural Matters

  1. Paul Gosling
    Created by Paul Gosling in category Agricultural Matters
    Aug 31, 2018
  2. JP1
    Created by JP1 in category Agricultural Matters
    May 5, 2018
    Dear Mr Gove

    In response to your consultation on post Brexit agri-policy, and in the forlorn hope that this ‘consultation’ isn’t going to follow the recent practise of merely being a bit of lip service.
    I’m writing as a lifelong working farmer. I’m also many other things, but I am a farmer first, and last.

    Initially, might I suggest you review the way responses are to be appraised. Given that you’ve presented your consultation document at about the busiest period in the farming calendar, with a very short deadline, it is reasonable to anticipate that many responses from actual farmers will be absent. Meanwhile the nosey parkers, activists and idealist busybodies will doubtless find time.
    Whether the massive ‘remapping’ fiasco your department have dumped on us again this year, swallowing days of precious time correcting your mistakes, was deliberately timed, along with various other absurdly complex time critical paperwork exercises, to coincide with this consultation remains a matter of conjecture.
    That notwithstanding, I would hope you’ll place more weight on responses from people who have soil under their finger nails accordingly.

    Then, there is the academic attainment of responders. A significant percentage of those who actually farm the land have scant further education - many of us were set straight to work in family businesses as teenagers. This doesn’t necessarily make us stupid. Conversely, some responses from elsewhere might very well come with the full...
  3. Farm Business RSS
    Created by Farm Business RSS in category Agricultural Matters
    Jan 8, 2018

    Written by John Swire

    The Tenant Farmers Association (TFA) believes that the speech given to the Oxford Farming Conference by DEFRA Secretary of State, Michael Gove foreshadows the contents of the promised Government White Paper on agricultural policy expected in the spring.

    TFA Chief Executive George Dunn said “We are used to having our hopes dashed of hearing a meaty Oxford Farming Conference speech from incumbents as DEFRA Secretaries of State but not this time. Like or loathe what we heard, we received a fairly firm view of future Government policy, the like of which we have not seen since Hillary Benn’s speech in 2010 in which he set out his 20 year plan to boost domestic food production. That plan fell by the wayside when Labour lost the 2010 General Election later that year and we will have to wait to see if the Gove plan survives the political choppy waters of our time.”

    “Disappointingly, there was a triumph of hope over practicality in the extent to which Mr Gove seems to be relying upon technological change to provide the swift answers we need to address labour shortages and the urgent need to increase farm productivity. Also on the negative side, there was nothing said specifically about the tenanted sector of agriculture, and there also continues...
  4. Farm Business RSS
    Created by Farm Business RSS in category Agricultural Matters
    Jan 5, 2018

    Written by John Swire

    Michael Gove delivered what could prove to be one of the most important speeches for UK farming in living memory in Oxford this week. Farm Business looks at the detail in the speech.

    The Defra Secretary appeared at both Oxford events – the long-established Oxford Farming Conference and the rival Oxford Real Farming Conference – on Thursday morning. The speech, which outlined a plan to introduce a new farm support system focusing on public goods, via a five-year transition period, after we leave the EU, was generally well-received at both events.

    There was more in there, too, on trade and UK production standards, public procurement, technology, red tape and the supply chain, for example. However, final judgement will be reserved until we see more detail around this ambitious set of policy ideas.

    To sign up to Farm Business click here

    On pages 8 and 9, we report in more detail from Oxford on what the speech means, how it was received – and Alistair Driver asks whether Mr Gove can realistically deliver it.

    Also in this edition of Farm Business, we feature a Staffordshire farmer on a mission to encourage farming to give back to society by helping those struggling to afford to feed themselves.

    We hear from AHDB’s Tom Hind on the latest campaign to promote the benefits of dairy products, while...
  5. llamedos
    Created by llamedos in category Agricultural Matters
    Jan 4, 2018
    The age of acceleration

    For anyone wondering what the focus of this year’s Oxford Farming Conference might be, The Archers provided an answer just before Christmas.

    Brian Aldridge asked his step-son, Adam, whether he might be attending the conference. Adam replied wearily. ‘I think I’ll give it a miss this year. It’s probably going to be all about Brexit. I get enough of that at home.’ I know how he feels.

    I suspect everyone in this room knows how he feels.

    And, of course, I’ll say something in a moment about the opportunities and challenges for agriculture on leaving the European Union.

    But if we’re going to make the most of those opportunities and overcome those challenges it’s critical that we recognise that there is much, much, more that is changing in our world than our relationship with the EU.

    The world’s population is growing at an unprecedented rate, with a worldwide migration from rural areas to cities and a growth in the global middle class which is driving demand for more, and better quality, food.

    Technological change is at an inflection point. Developments in big data, artificial intelligence and machine learning mean that processes which would have required the intellect and effort of thousands of humans over many hours in the past can be accomplished automatically by digital means in seconds.

    These technological breakthroughs raise political and moral questions as we consider how we deal with the transformation of a huge range...
    Created by GOV.UK RSS in category Agricultural Matters
    Nov 30, 2017

    News story: Countryside Stewardship: detail of new simplified offers

    Written by HM Government

    Four new Countryside Stewardship offers will be introduced for farmers and land managers from the New Year to boost biodiversity and help protect and enhance farmland and the countryside.

    Significant improvements have been made to the scheme to make it simpler and easier for farmers and land managers to apply.

    The four new offers – Online Arable Offer, Lowland Grazing Offer, Upland Offer and Mixed Farming Offer – will provide tailored options covering the full range of different farm types, so farmers and land managers can deliver environmental benefits no matter where they are or what they farm.

    The popular Hedgerows and Boundaries Grant will also receive additional funding from 2018, with farmers and land managers able to apply for a maximum grant of £10,000, up from £5,000 in previous application rounds.

    Paperwork for the new offers is quicker and easier to get through, due to streamlined evidence checks and shorter application forms designed to help save farmers valuable time. The scheme is also non-competitive, meaning that all farmers who meet the eligibility requirements can get an agreement to deliver as few as 3 options, or as many as 7 up to 14, depending on the offer applied for.

    The changes have been made to help more farmers get back into agri-environment schemes, with...
  7. jade35
    Created by jade35 in category Agricultural Matters
    Jun 12, 2016
    Pippa Woods received a CBE for services to family farming and the rural community.
    From the Western Morning News.

    Pippa Woods, one of the instigators of the Family Farms Association when it was launched in 1979, has been handed a CBE for her work in the rural community.

    Piipa said she hopes the CBE will help bring publicity to the plight of small farmers

    The 89-year-old, who lives at Osborne Newton near Aveton Gifford in the South Hams, said she hoped the accolade would highlight the plight of struggling farmers.

    Mrs Woods, who with her late husband Bob bought and developed a 112-acre holding in 1955, said she had not expected her devotion to helping struggling farmers to be rewarded.

    "I found it rather hard to believe," she said of receiving her letter.

    "I am not very interested in personal gravitas but I very much do hope it makes people realise that small farming is something worthwhile.

    "The Environment Department, Defra, doesn't care about them – it thinks bigger is better – so it is getting much harder to make a living.

    "We need a stronger organisation and are looking for people to join the committee to help run things."

    Read more:
    Follow us: @heraldnewslive on Twitter |...
  8. JP1
    Created by JP1 in category Agricultural Matters
    Jun 4, 2016

      In 1998, Kodak had 170,000 employees and sold 85% of all photo paper worldwide. Within just a few years, their business model disappeared and they went bankrupt. What happened to Kodak will happen in a lot of industries in the next 10 years - and most people don't see it coming. Did you think in 1998 that 3 years later you would never take pictures on paper film again? Yet digital cameras were invented in 1975. The first ones only had 10,000 pixels, but followed Moore's law. So as with all exponential technologies, it was a disappointment for a long time, before it became way superior and got mainstream in only a few short years. It will now happen with Artificial Intelligence, health, autonomous and electric cars, education, 3D printing, agriculture and jobs.

      Welcome to the 4th Industrial Revolution. Welcome to the Exponential Age.

      Software will disrupt most traditional industries in the next 5-10 years.

      Uber is just a software tool, they don't own any cars, and are now the biggest taxi company in the world. Airbnb is now the biggest hotel company in the world, although they don't own any properties.

      Artificial Intelligence: Computers become exponentially better in understanding the world. This year, a computer beat the best Go player in the world, 10 years earlier than expected. In the US, young lawyers already don't get jobs. Because of IBM Watson, you can get legal advice (so far for more or less basic stuff) within...
  9. JP1
    Created by JP1 in category Agricultural Matters
    Apr 29, 2016
    I'm delighted to be asked to initiate a discussion blog around the Innovative Farmers Network.

    By way of background, I have posted the original press release at launch and a link via one of it's supporters / promoters The Soil Association

    It has been suggested that a different topic is selected every month for discussion. I will post the first discussion question in a second post on this thread

    Future topics based on Innovative Farmers Field Labs may encompass:

    ·Reducing antibiotic use in dairy

    ·Improving feed efficiency in livestock

    ·Testing crop varieties in low-input systems

    ·Managing weeds without herbicides

    ·Using multi-species leys

    ·Improving soils

    "Innovative Farmers launches
    23 November 2015
    On 11 November an unprecedented partnership of farming groups launched a new network to support innovation by farmers.

    On 11 November at the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Offices, Edinburgh, an unprecedented partnership of farming groups launched a new network to support innovation by farmers. ‘Innovative Farmers’ gives farmers research support and funding on their own terms. In a world where most agricultural research happens off-farm, this puts farmers firmly in the driving seat.

    The network is part of the Duchy Future Farming Programme, funded by the Prince of Wales’s Charitable Foundation, which is also partner of the Future Farming Scotland programme. The Soil Association,...
  10. JP1
    Created by JP1 in category Agricultural Matters
    Feb 23, 2016
    As the countdown begins towards the EU referendum, the Yorkshire Agricultural Society’s commitment to sparking discussion around the possible effects on agriculture will come under the spotlight at an open meeting next month.

    The complex questions and potential outcomes of both leaving and remaining within the EU will be examined as the country draws closer to the referendum date.

    A panel of experts including academics and representatives from the farming industry will explore the issues and then a question and answer session will follow the free event at Tennants Garden Rooms in Leyburn on Thursday 10 March.

    Nigel Pulling Chief Executive said: “The referendum is at the top of the Government’s agenda but the lack of information about the issues means most people are struggling to make an informed decision. Our aim is not to try to influence how people vote, but to inform debate and stimulate discussion.”

    A report commissioned by the Society entitled “Brexit and Agriculture” will underpin the evening. It was produced by the Farmer-Scientist Network led by Wyn Grant, Professor of Politics at the University of Warwick who has more than 40 years’ experience advising on agricultural matters at national and international levels. Significant contributions were made by experts from the University of Leeds, Newcastle Law School, University of Reading and the University of the West of England. The Network was set up by the Yorkshire Agricultural Society to...